The Basics of Translation

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Science  18 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6117, pp. 250
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234799

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The past 20 years have witnessed great advances in understanding the causes of many medical disorders, while also revealing how complex their pathogenesis can be. Hypertension, autism, and Alzheimer's disease have each proven to be a collection of disorders with multiple causes. Although the dream of personalized treatments has been realized for a few disorders, particularly in the field of cancer, the translation of scientific discoveries into effective treatments for other diseases has been much slower than expected. There are two main reasons for this fact: the complexity of human physiology, and our limited understanding of how the vast majority of genes, proteins, and RNAs work, irrespective of whether they are disease-associated or not.